.. As part of the Nga-Pu-Toru - or "The Three Roots" - South Group together with Atiu and Mauke, Mitiaro was once a vulcano that sunk to a reef top 10,000 years ago, which was then pushed up again, but only for about 20ft.
However, the submerged basins in the unavoidable subsurface lime caverns that form part of this fossil formations of corals are a different and chilly option to the lakes that are so much part of Cook Island's way of being. The Mitiaro has probably the most beautyful of all subsurface caverns and swimming ponds on the isles.
Supplied by the subterranean waters of the island, Vai Nauri is a shallow, clear, cold and supposedly curative and an absolute must. Te Pitakare, an subterranean fresh watertank, is still used as potable mineral spring. However, along the island's coastline, small bays with beautiful and remote sand shores open up for swimming in the seas.
It has a rather shallow and marshy plateau-like center - and the fresh water seas offer a singular view of this lovely little isle. The Rotonui (Great Lake and half the area of the island) and Toto Iti (Small Lake) make up a large part of Mitiaro. Amazingly large for such a small archipelago and lined with luxuriant greens, they house a swarming populace of marine creatures - the Itiki is above all a treat and, when covered in leafs and cooked in the ufu (earth oven), disappears in no time at every festival.
Featuring a resident of less than 200 inhabitants, the soft heat of the municipality and proudness of its own small town is a hallmark of the island's inhabitants. Mitiaro, like most of the other populated isles, is deep in Christianity and the song in Betela, the CICC on a Sunday is an memorable event for any unafraid tourist who has succeeded in entering this little mystery of the isle.
The shore line also mirrors the proudness of the locals, as the traditionally built fishermen' yachts stand side by side with each other at the seaside. Featuring less than twenty vehicles on the isle, the speed of living - sluggish and beautiful - is something you should appreciate in a machine and cash driven state.
An old fortress erected by the ancestors of Mitiaro, Te Pare served as a shelter against the invading Atiu fighters, with whom there was a violent outcry.